Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Getting started with German 1
Getting started with German 1

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 Saying hello and goodbye

Figure 1 shows some greetings you might hear when visiting a German speaking county. Have you come across any of them before? Can you guess what they mean or at what time of the day they might be used? There are also two speech bubbles with phrases meaning “goodbye”. Can you spot them?

Don’t worry, if you don’t know any of the greetings at all. Just click on the link below to reveal the answers. You will practise saying hello and goodbye in the next activity.

Described image
Figure 1


Table 1 Greetings and partings
Hallo Meaning “Hello”, this is an informal greeting that can be used at any time of the day.
Guten Morgen Literally meaning “Good morning”, this greeting is commonly used first thing in the morning; usually up to 10 or 11am.
Guten Tag This is a more formal way to say “hello”; can be used at any time up to around 5pm.
Grüß Gott This greeting is used mainly in southern Germany and in Austria. It is used all day long, but is fairly formal; a more informal version is Grüß dich (sg) or Grüß euch (pl)
Guten Abend “Good evening” – This greeting is quite formal and can be used after 5 or 6pm.
Auf Wiedersehen Meaning goodbye – you can say Auf Wiedersehen at any time of the day.
Tschüs This is a slightly less formal way to say goodbye, mainly used in Germany; it isn’t so common in Austria and Switzerland.

Activity 1

Listen to the audio below: which ones are hellos which ones are goodbyes? When would you use them? Drag and drop the greetings next to their definition.

Once you have checked your answers, listen to the audio again and repeat the greetings. What time of the day/evening is it where you are now? How would you say hello?

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Audio 1
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Audio 1
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Guten Morgen

  2. Hallo

  3. Guten Abend

  4. Guten Tag

  5. Tschüs

  6. Auf Wiedersehen

  • a.Hello, daytime, informal

  • b.Goodbye

  • c.Goodbye, informal

  • d.Hello, in the evening

  • e.Hello, daytime

  • f.Hello, in the morning

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = f
  • 2 = a
  • 3 = d
  • 4 = e
  • 5 = c
  • 6 = b